My paintings are stops on a journey, and they build on each other; they are not ends or beginnings, but the flow of my life. When I paint, I paint with oil on stretched canvas or linen, a method that I have always used. Like the blank canvas, it is important for me to clear my mind completely so that I can respond to shape or color. Each painting informs the next. My compositions are loosely based on the golden mean – a system to divide a space that mimics nature – using proportions to get shapes that go together well – pleasing to the eye, it is the underpinning of my work that gives it a sense of stability. My work is inspired by the visible world; through travel and memory, not through concepts or world events, or politics.
When I graduated from college in the early sixties, I learned to paint like Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, even though I thought I would learn to paint like Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot or John Singer Sergeant. I thought that the professors did not know what they were doing. It never occurred to me that they would try to teach me to paint like Richard Diebenkorn or Sean Scully.
After I moved to Vermont in the seventies, I started painting landscapes in the style of Corot. I got bored with painting the tops of the paintings blue and the bottoms brown, and departed to a more abstract response to looking at the world.
I had a stroke when I was 65 years old, and lost function of the dominant side of my body. With the help of my wife Jody and son Dylan, I learned how to paint with my left arm. There was never a doubt in my mind that I would not paint. After a year in a wheel chair, I learned to function pretty well and I got back into my studio with my new set of skills. The stroke also caused some memory loss, which I took to my advantage – I paint more from the moment rather than pulling from old images from my mind. These circumstances forced me to make drastic changes in the way I paint that I really like.
What I have learned in all the years of making paintings. First is to realize that it is alright to borrow ideas from other artists as you begin the journey - at some point, you will find your own voice. All you learned from those artists was necessary to make your vision what it is today. Life will often take you to places you never knew were possible, but can also be the biggest of silver linings.
I have been painting since 1963; I am 79 years old now and still learning and loving it.
2019: Solo Exhibition, Ray Brown: Portrait of an Artist, T.W. Wood Gallery, Montpelier, VT
2017: Solo Exhibition, Ray Brown: Sixty Years of Painting, The Gallery at Central Vermont Medical Center, Berlin, VT
2017: Group Exhibition, Refuge: Vermont Artists Respond, Art at the Kent Museum, Calais, VT
2015: Solo Exhibition, New Works by Ray Brown, gallery SIX, Montpelier, VT
2013: Solo Exhibition, Central Vermont Medical Center, Berlin, VT
2012: Group Show, National Exhibition, Edgewater Gallery, Middlebury, VT
2009: Solo Exhibition, Supreme Court Building, Montpelier, VT
2005: Solo Exhibition, Supreme Court Building, Montpelier, VT
2005: Four Person Exhibition, Landscape/Mindscapes, University of Vermont, Francis Coburn Gallery, Burlington, VT
2001: Solo Exhibition, Supreme Court Building, Montpelier, VT
1996: Two Person Exhibition, Pastels, Mill House-Bundy Gallery, Waitsfield, VT
1995: Solo Exhibition, Ray Brown Pastels, Dibedon Gallery, Johnson State College, Johnson, VT
1992: Group Show, Vermont Artists, Helen Day Arts Center, Stowe, VT
1973: Group Exhibition, Cranbrook Academy of Art Students, an Exhibtion, Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI
1964: Group Exhibition, Artists in the US Forces, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX
1971 – 1973: MFA in Printing, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI
1959 – 1963: BFA in Painting and Printmaking, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA
1986 – 2009: Owner of The Drawing Board, Montpelier, VT
Independent art supply store and fine art framing operation
2003 – 2004: Visiting Lecturer at Norwich University, Northfield, VT
Department of Architecture, Graduate Drawing Courses
1996 – 2006: Stubbs and Brown Carvers and Guilders of Fish, East Montpelier, VT
1969 – 1970: Printmaking Instructor at Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA
1965 – 1966: Printmaking and Silversmith Instructor, Worcester Museum of Art, Worcester, MA
1965 – 1967: Studio Art Teacher, Hopkinon High School, Hopkinon, MA
1967 – 1986: Studio Art and Art History Teacher, Quincy High School, Quincy, MA
1963 – 1964: Printmaker and Etcher, George Lockwood Impressions Printing, Boston, MA